TACOMA. Wash. – Dep. Kent Mundell's first career choice was not law enforcement. It was a neighbor who convinced the father of two to join the Pierce County Sheriff's Department.
His mother, Pat Stafford, says Mundell knew the risks and died doing what he loved.
"He knew someday he might have to give his life for others," said Stafford.
Stafford says she would receive phone calls from her son while he was on duty.
"He would say 'Whoops. I got to go. I have a call.' I would say 'What kind of call?' so I know if I needed to say an extra prayer for him and always tell him to be safe," said Stafford.
On Dec. 21, Mundell and Sgt. Nicholas Hausner responded to a domestic violence call in Eatonville that ended in a hail of gunfire. Both Mundell and Hausner were shot and hospitalized. Mundell was able to return fire and kill the suspect, David Crable.
Stafford had spoken to her son that morning.
"He was at the door with a 'Hey, mom,' which is always how he greeted me," said Stafford. "He came in, bouncing in, full of life and energy.
"That 'Hey, mom' is going to be hard not to experience at my door because he was always there."
For a week, Mundell remained on life support at Harborview Medical Center. On Christmas, Stafford gave her son a cross necklace as a gift.
"They were able to put it around his neck. It was such a pleasure. It expressed my sentiments. I just had 'My son, my joy' engraved upon it," said Stafford.
On Monday, Mundell died after being taken off life support.
"it was such a horrible nightmare for all of us, but we knew from the outset the prognosis was not good," said Stafford.
Mundell knew one day he may lose his life in the line of duty.
"If it was his destiny, if he was called to do this and he had to give his life, I am thankful it was for others because greater love has no man than to lay down his life for a brother," said Stafford.
This mother wants other to remember her son as a charismatic, caring individual who always saw the good in others.
"I am very proud of the man he turned out to be and I am really honored, very honored, to be his mom," said Stafford.
Stafford is considering speaking at Tuesday's memorial for Mundell at the Tacoma Dome.
The public is invited to attend the memorial and line the procession route.
The procession will begin at 10 a.m. at the Puyallup Fair and Events Center, 110 9th Avenue SW. The route will start north on S. Meridian, veer right to Third Street SE then Second Street NE. It will then turn west onto River Road, continuing through on Bay Street where it will head west on Puyallup Avenue and proceed north on C Street to the Tacoma Dome.
Parking will be limited at the Tacoma Dome. The public is encouraged to use alternative parking areas.
Several funds have been set up for Mundell's wife and two children. You can contribute at:
- Any branch of Columbia Bank.
- Any branch of Tapco Credit Union, or on their Web site
- The Pierce County Deputy Sheriffs Guild Web site
The sheriff's department says it has already gotten complaints from citizens about bogus companies calling them trying to solicit donations for the Mundell family. The department says it does not support those companies and that you should not give any money over the phone.
Cards to the family or Police Department may be sent to Family of Deputy Kent Mundell or Pierce County Sheriff's Department, Mountain Detachment, P.O. Box 1489, Eatonville, WA 98328.